Circular Saw vs Skill Saw: What’s the Difference

Professional carpenters and DIYers use the term circular saw or skill saw in the same meaning. These two names are interchangeably referred to mean the same woodworking tool by them.  

Circular saw, a hand-held power tool designed with a round shape blade combined with sharp teeth, comes with versatile cutting features including rip-cut and cross-cut. Combination blade of a circular saw offers both rip cut and cross cut with a single saw. It was invented in the 18th century with a heavier design. 

On the contrary, skill saw replaced worm drive circular saw’s name, which was invented back in the 20th century. That worm drive circular saw is called today’s skill saw. 

However, in one word skill saw is a traditional hand-held power-run saw designed with heavy-duty features. This saw is now available in the market with more advanced cutting features similar to regular circular saw. Skill saw is still preferred by the woodworkers for its heavy-duty feature, quality and durability compared to existing brands’ circular saw. 

Now it’s clear to us that both skill saw and circular saw are the same woodworking tools in two different names. Though the circular saw belongs to the traditional skill saw family, it still does not have all the unique features that skill saw owns since inception.  

However, irrespective of their features, let’s discuss circular saw vs skill saw through this article to have a clear insight about them and their comparative advantages.   

circular saw vs skill saw

Circular Saw VS Skill Saw

You have already got a brief introduction about both saws and their invention. When we use the term “versus” it refers to “comparison” between the two entities. Let’s refer to today’s debate on circular saw vs skill saw. This discussion would give you more insight about both tools’ mechanism, features, use, limitations, and their comparative advantages. In fact, it’s obvious to say that both are the same woodworking tools in two different names with slight differences. 

Synopsis of Circular Saw

Circular saw first came into existence in the 18th century with a heavier model. Primarily, circular saw was widely used to split thick logs into sliced lumber to build various wooden products. The essential prerequisite for the old model circular saw to have an entire assembly line for splitting wood and it was particularly potential for rip cut.    

After the invention of the skill saw, circular saw started to get modified into smaller hand-held versions with portability by Edmond Michael and Joseph Sullivan. Many years after the circular saw emerged, the sidewinder drive circular saw entered into the market with a more upgraded version assembled with a saw blade and direct drive mechanism. Since then, circular saw has continued to be built by the manufacturers with more handy designs at much cheaper cost till this era. Unfortunately, over the period of time, the quality of the circular saw in terms of durability and performance continued to fall and pose questions to the manufacturers’ credibility. However, the advantages of the circular saw include a variety of brands, affordability, and versatility.  

Synopsis of Skill Saw

As I said earlier, the skill saw actually belongs to the circular saw’s family. It’s known from history that skill saw came into existence back in the 20th century when hand-held circular saw was first blown by the two bright professionals named Joseph Sullivan and Edmond Michael. Actually, skill saw is meant to be a trademark of conventional hand-held circular saws.   

It was very popular among the ancestors and they used to refer to skill saw under the brand name of circular saw as printed on the tool. Though its RPM was a little lower than that of a circular saw. 

Interestingly, skill saw is still in the leading position in the market with the various models alongside the different brands of circular saw. 

The features offered by the skill saw are lighter in weight, pretty easy to handle and other proven options. Only drawback of this saw is it yet to cover all circular saws’ options

Comparative Features Between Circular Saw and Skill Saw

Both circular saw and skill saw are power-activated hand-held tools. Circular saw is more versatile than skill saw in terms of its variety of features. Circular saw offers a wide range of models while skill saw is little behind. 

Skill saw is assembled with heavy-duty features and gives quality assurance while circular saw’s quality is profoundly dependable on their various brands and models.  

Skill saw is an old brand of circular saw manufactured by two talented inventors. People still used to refer to circular saw as a skill saw and vise-versa. Besides saws, brand skill also manufactures many other tools such as bench-top saws, table saws, bench-top grinders, cordless drills with various accessories including batteries, blades, and drills etc. 

Circular saw assembled with abrasive spinning blades has the potential to cut through wood and other hard materials. This saw comes with cordless and corded models. 

Circular saw comes with more advanced features and offers different cutting options like rip cut, plunge cut, round cut, wider bevels cut. In contrast, a skill saw also can perform everything as an old timer as a circular saw does. 

Though skill saw comes with variety of circular saw models, but the features of regular saw are not present in this models which is one of the limitation of the skil circular saw at this point of time. 

Quality issue of the circular saw solely depends on the brands and models as over hundreds of brands and models are flooded in the market. 

While, in the case of skill saw, customers are least likely to be cheated with quality issues.  Skil circular saw is assembled with a heavy-duty mechanism which gained huge popularity among the woodworkers and till today they solely rely on skil circular saw compared to modern circular saws. 

When some high-profile brands like DeWalt, Black & Decker, Makita are coming with a variety of top-ranking products, unfortunately, now-a-days power tool markets are mushroomed with numerous sub-standard products including saws manufactured by many other low-profile, unknown brands. 

In terms of cost, the most trusted brands are expensive while the cheaper priced brands are automatically indicative towards lower quality. Skill saws are generally expensive compared to current circular saw brands.  

Final Remarks

I hope you are now quite clear about the difference between circular saw and skill saw. In fact, there is no basic difference. Both names refer to the same woodworking tool. The above mentioned comparative features again have given you more clarity and insight about these saws. However, I would suggest you try them for your woodworking projects and get the real essence of these saws. 

Keep yourself updated about the latest technology and information related to power tools so as to be able to get your project accomplished more efficiently with saws and other tools. 

I would expect you to share your feedback so that I can be able to accommodate those issues to answer your queries through my upcoming articles and videos. As usual, it’s a gentle reminder to you to share this article and our website with people so that they too have access to our information hub as required. Our expert team would love to help you any way you want to mitigate your occupational challenges.

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About Gavin Ford

Hi, I am Gavin Ford. I am a full-time power tools salesperson and a part-time mechanic. I help my friends and neighbors with their tools. Which one to buy, how to buy it, how to use it, methods to fix broken tools, and so on. In I will do the same for the rest of the world. You will get everything you need to know about tools for regular and professional use.

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